Expression of Macrophage Antigens by Tumor Cells

  • Ivan Shabo
  • Joar SvanvikEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 950)


Macrophages are a heterogeneous cell population of the myeloid linage derived from monocytes. These cells show two different polarization states, M1 and M2 macrophages in response to different micro environmental signals. Tumor associated macrophages (TAM) represent the M2 type and promote tumor progression. These cells express antigens that more or less are specific for macrophages like: CD14, CD68, MAC387, CD163, and DAP12. In a series of recent studies it is shown that cancer cells may express these antigens and CD163, MAC387 and DAP12 may be expressed by e.g. breast cancer cells. Thus, 48% of the breast cancers expressed CD163 that is a scavenger receptor normally expressed by macrophages alone. The corresponding figure for rectal cancer is 31%. The expression of CD163 is correlated to early distant recurrence in breast cancer and local recurrence in rectal cancer and reduced survival time in both conditions. Expression of macrophage antigens in breast- and colorectal-cancers may have a prognostic relevance in clinical praxis. One explanation to these findings is that resemblance with macrophages may indicate a more invasive phenotype due to genetic exchange between the primary tumor cells and associated macrophages. This is further supported by the finding that expression of DAP12, a macrophage fusion receptor, in breast cancer is associated with an advanced tumor grade and higher rates of skeletal and liver metastases and overall shorter distant recurrence free survival. Another explanation to the changed phenotype is a genetic exchange between the cells by exosome-mediated transfer.


Rectal Cancer CD163 Expression Cell Fusion Multinucleated Giant Cell CD163 Positive Tumor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Transplantation Center, Sahlgrenska University HospitalGothenburgSweden

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